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The Broadband Silk Road

By CITY BUSINESS Magazine (College of Business, City University of Hong Kong)

After a century of marginalisation, Central Asia transit routes are once again taking centre stage. City Business Magazine editor Eric Collins investigates the nature of the historical Silk Road, and asks why China is unveiling a new version for the 21st century.

Sinuously the Silk Road flows from ancient times down to the present. From China through the Taklamakan Desert to Samarkand at its centre, through the grassland steppe of Central Asia to the shores of the Mediterranean, it helped pioneer globalisation. Romantically we imagine spices, silks, perfumes and precious stones wending their way by camel between China and Europe. But what was the nature of this Road? Who and what travelled along it and in what direction? Was it just confined to goods? Or did ideas make the journey as well? How Broadband was this historical Silk Road? And how does it relate to its latter-day successor, the recent China development policy initiative, One Belt One Road (OBOR)?

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